Soldier killed, militant arrested
16 January 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: A soldier was killed and two others wounded in an encounter at Handwara in the frontier district of Kupwara while elsewhere in Kashmir a Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) Commander was arrested overnight. Official sources said troops of 21 Rashtriya Rifles and Special Operations Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a joint operation at Sazmulla, about 25 Km from Handwara in north Kashmir this morning. As the security forces were sealing the area, militants opened fire. The fire was returned and in the encounter, two soldiers and one Special Police Officer (SPO) were injured. One of the soldiers later died in the hospital. The militants managed to escape, they said. An official spokesman said police arrested Maqbool Ahmad Bhat alias Tariq alias Altaf Sheikh, a self styled district commander of HM in Baramulla. He said Bhat was involved in the killing of four police personnel and two civilians, including a Doctor. Meanwhile, a major tragedy was averted as security personnel detected two powerful IEDs planted by militants at the high-security Sonawar near the core headquarters of Army here today. While one of the two IEDs, planted on the main road, was successfully defused, efforts were on to destroy the other one, official sources said. Traffic on the road from Pantha Chowk to Lal Chowk has been suspended following the detection of the explosives.